2022 Blue Jays Retrospective: The start of the John Schneider era, a 28-5 win over the Red Sox at Fenway, and more
Photo credit:© Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
By Evan Stack10 months ago
Over the next few days, we’ll be taking a look back at the year that was for the Toronto Blue Jays.
A record-setting night in Boston
The Blue Jays kicked off the second half of the season with a three-game series in Boston. Contrary to the results of this series, the Red Sox entered the game only two games back of Toronto in the standings. Instead of the competitive series this looked to be, the Jays set the tone early on that the weekend would be very one-sided.
Toronto vanquished Boston 28-5 in the first game of the series. Vanquished was my word of choice, but many others could’ve worked. It’d be almost impossible to sum up the events of that game in a single paragraph or so, however, there were a few clear highlights.
With the Jays up 6-0, Ramiel Tapia hit an inside-the-park grand slam that had a ton of talking points within itself. Off the bat, Tapia thought that it would be a routine flyout, but Jarren Duran, Boston’s center fielder, lost the ball in the lights. It landed several yards behind him, but Duran didn’t show a single sense of urgency in retrieving the ball. Instead, Alex Verdugo came sprinting from left field to recover the ball. Tapia’s moment had already come to fruition, as he slid home in front of three of his teammates, celebrating the little league homer.
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Toronto would score many more runs (in a multitude of fashions) – you can read the full summary here.
With a score like that, individuals and teams were bound to break a few records. The 28 runs marked a Blue Jays record for most runs scored in a single game. In parallel, 28 runs also became the most runs that the Red Sox had ever allowed in a game.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. had six hits, tying Frank Catalanotto for most hits in a single game by a Blue Jays player. Tapia (3-for-7, 6 RBIs), Matt Chapman (3-for-6, 4 RBIs), and Danny Jansen (3-for-6, 6 RBIs) were amongst those who contributed to the avalanche of Blue Jays runs.
With the weight of a franchise-best performance, the Jays would go on to sweep the series and start the second half on the right foot.
The trade deadline
The mid-season trade deadline has become a hot topic amongst the Blue Jays organization throughout the last decade, arguably. In 2019, the team was in a position to move established players to acquire prospects. On the other hand, 2020 thru 2022 featured the Jays actively seeking to turn a good team into a better one.
While teams such as Minnesota, New York (both Mets and Yankees), Philadelphia, and San Diego made momentous transactions, the Blue Jays stayed relatively quiet up until the final hours of the trade deadline. Areas of need were the bullpen, a starting pitcher or two, and a lefty bat to add to the righty-heavy lineup.
Toronto finally struck pay dirt with a couple of hours remaining, as they acquired relievers Anthony Bass and Zach Pop from the Miami Marlins in exchange for longtime prospect INF Jordan Groshans. In seemingly the final minutes of the deadline, the Blue Jays made some under-the-radar deals; 2B/OF Whit Merrifield was acquired from the Royals in exchange for Salad Taylor and Max Castillo, and SP Mitch White was acquired from the Dodgers with multiple prospects going back in that deal.
While needs were addressed, there were mixed reactions amongst the fans as far as the quality of return. Nonetheless, all pieces obtained at the deadline were immediately plugged into the puzzle in some form or another.
Toronto also held onto many of their top prospects; perhaps the asking price of the big-name free agents were too high, or maybe the Blue Jays simply believed in what they had, and didn’t want to empty the farm system unless it was absolutely necessary.
An up-and-down August
Most fans of American League East teams already know how bad the Baltimore Orioles have been in recent years. For the Blue Jays particularly, they were almost an automatic series win.
This year, however, the Orioles were competing for a Wild Card spot down to the final weeks behind a dynamite bullpen and young talent of their own. The Blue Jays went 1-4 against Baltimore in August, including an August 9th affair in which Rougned Odor hit a go-ahead home run in the 8th inning, a sour taste for many Jays fans.
After subpar performances in the previous series against the Orioles and Guardians, the Blue Jays had a real gut-check series with the Yankees. It was a four-gamer, with New York sending out their workhorse pitchers including Gerrit Cole, Nestor Cortes, and newly acquired Frankie Montas.
Toronto was up for the task, as they took three of four games from the Yankees, including winning the first three. Jose Berrios, Kevin Gausman, and even Mitch White impressed with glowing performances, while the offense brought out the boo-birds in Yankee Stadium.
Oddly enough, Alek Manoah’s start in the series finale was the game that Toronto would eventually lose in that series. Although earning a no-decision, Manoah only allowed one run over six innings, and even gave us this gem after a scrum with Gerrit Cole.
Despite the Jays having a favorable schedule to end the month of August, Toronto finished the month 2-4, including an embarrassing weekend sweep versus the Angels, and a tougher-than-it-needed-to-be series win over the Cubs. The Blue Jays had already gained some ground back on the Yankees for the AL East lead from the aforementioned head-to-head series, but it would’ve really benefitted them had they taken care of business down the stretch.
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